The most asked question I get is ‘Where do you come up with this stuff’, so I thought I’d give you a behind the scenes look at the origins of Appetites
For those of you who don’t know, Appetites is my second book, the one I’m currently working on. It began as a writing prompt in the Advanced Creative Writing course I took through Durham Collage. The teachers, James Dewar and Sue Reynolds, prompted us to write a story containing a tube of lipstick, a silver earing and a pick-up truck and then re-write it in the various P.O.V (Point Of Views ie, first person (I), second person (you) third person (he) and third person omniscient (essentially they).
I first thought it was going to be easy, just change the I to a you or he, but I found that in changing the P.O.V. it changed the story. What follows is my interpretation and the basis of Appetites. I blended it together for entry into the Wicked Words contest. I’m not sure it worked.
“Ok, let’s slow down and start from the beginning, this time try puttin’ yourself in my shoes.
So, there you are, drivin’ your pick-up along the same route you use every night, the Chevy’s engine growl providin’ back-up to the song on the radio. The singer is singin’… I dunno… some PTA song about lipstick stained collars or sum such.
And then BLAMMO!! The right front tire blows and you’re headin’ towards the ditch.
Your gut reaction is to crank the wheel. But you know…oh, you know, if you do that, you’re flippin’ the truck. So you ride hump, bump the bump, see if you come out the other side and sure enough, she settles down. Ya, it’s a rough ride, but you stay on all fours.
See, now you’re more than a little pissed. And why not? You have every right to be. Not only do you have to change the tire and you’re going to be late for The Wheel of Fortune but you’ve also got a quarter of a kilometer of junk, out of the back of the truck, to clean up and apparently the first piece of crap to hightail it was the freakin’ spare tire.
You walk back and retrieve the spare, growlin’ and mutterin’ the whole way with only the full moon to keep you company. You set to replacin’ the tire when lo-and-behold doesn’t a car pull up and stop.
Imagine that, nighttime, lonely road, and somebody actually stops to help out. It kinda piques your curiosity while settin’ your hackles on edge.
‘Hey there! You alright?’ You hear a woman’s voice call out to you. You look up and the first thing you notice is what big eyes she has, the kind of eyes that drive men mad, and her intoxicating scent.
Being the gentleman you are you try to stand to greet her proper but damned if your track pants don’t snag on the shrubs that line the road. Your rush to stand only worsens the tear until your pants are in ruins around your ankles, along with your pride.
‘S’ok, just a blown tire.’ You say.
‘You sure you don’t want me to call a tow truck…’ you hear her trail off.
Imagine your confusion as she back-pedals to her open SUV door, her silver earring glinting in the moonlight, her red evening dress and matching hooded shawl flapping in the a sudden breeze.
‘Wait!’ you call, but, all you can do is watch her rabbit off.
Pants or no pants, you know that tire ain’t fixin’ itself.
So, now that you’ve put yourself in my shoes, officer, tell me you’dve done anything different.”
Officer Reynolds, deep in thought, glared through the steam of his coffee at James Wolfe, watching the silence slowly eroding his ‘Hiya buddy’ smile.
That’s it, Reynolds thought, almost time for stage three in your confession, you monster.
Reynolds cast back to when they picked Wolfe up about a kilometre from the crime scene. He had been belligerent, claiming police harassment due to his history as opposed to any concrete evidence. Had he given anything away in his ranting?
And just now, he sat on the other side of the table and delivered an outstanding story about how he had nothing to do with anything at all.
So there he was; Resistance and Denial out of the way, and Reynolds was waiting for Shame, stage three.
“Honest to god Officer, the doctors fixed me. I’m not the same man anymore!”
Hmmm… that was new, Officer Reynolds thought as he considered his next line of attack.
“So you’re telling me, that Ms. Hood’s ‘Large eyes, full lips and intoxicating perfume’, to quote your own words, didn’t set those old urges in motion?”
Wolfe hung his head, “No, I’m ashamed to say I did think about… you know… it, but I didn’t do anything!”
“BULLSHIT, you lying…” Reynolds stood abruptly, slamming his hands down on the table before catching himself and slowly sitting back down.
“Listen, our switchboard got a panicked call from Ms. Hood at 9:45pm. She gave a description of your truck and something about us sending a tow truck and squad car out before her call ended abruptly. Within minutes we had a call from Ms. Hood’s OnStar, stating that she had been in an accident and when they tried to talk to her all they heard was screaming, heavy breathing and then nothing.”
“Just because of my past…”
“You’re a convicted rapist whose M.O., might I remind you, was to fake a break down on a side road to lure your victims to stop!” Reynolds snapped.
“We respond to the call and who do we find ‘broken down’ not two kilometers from the crime scene. We search your pick-up truck and find the victims silver earring and tube of lipstick in the back.”
“Officer Reynolds, where’s the body? I’m a convicted rapist, not a murderer. What about the tow truck? I never called for one.”
The sincerity written all over Wolfe’s face caused Reynolds to pause. Something about Wolfe’s comments rang bells in his head. Absently, he pulled the tow truck drivers card out; Louis Peter Garou 555-678-9999.
“Friends call me Loupy.” The driver’s words echoed in Reynolds ears.
Loupy Garou… Lou P. Garou… loup garou!
Reynolds’ heart crashed into his stomach.
The battered Chevy pick-up truck rattled is way through the gloam. The road, long and lonely, the driver inside, oblivious to moon washed landscape.
He was so immersed in quelling his inner demons; he didn’t see the hunched, shadowed figure keeping pace with the truck as it loped through the sparse Maple trees that lined the rural route.
He didn’t see it angle towards the road. Didn’t see it raise an arm. Didn’t see it swing. He only felt the result, the passenger side front tire blowing out.
The shadowy figure crouched boldly in the middle of the darkened road, shaded from the moonlight by the overhanging trees. It watched the truck bounce along the shallow ditch. It watched the driver emerge and locked eyes with him when the driver looked back.
Both the figure and the driver felt the ghostly touch that comes when prehistoric genes recognize a kindred spirit. While the driver’s clinically manipulated mind shied from the connection, the figure paused uncertain, before bounding into the brush, hunger over-riding uncertainty.
The driver passed mere feet from the figure crouched in the undergrowth. Unscathed, he retrieved the tire and rolled it back to the truck. The figure followed. In its long life it had learned the value of patience and timing.
Unaware of anything other than the inconvenience of the imposed labour, the driver neither heard nor felt the figure pad softly up behind him.
It reached out a wickedly sharp, curved claw, hooking it gently in the drivers drooping waistband. Its muscles coiled for the impeding pounce and anticipatory saliva dripped from its extended jaw.
The spray of approaching headlights caused the figure to pause. As the new driver approached, the figure could smell a change in the truck driver; smell the familiar smoke that spoke of fires of desire and hunger that mirrored the figures own.
Rebecca Hood was on her way home from a late meeting with clients. When she saw the pick-up on the side of the road, she silently cursed her own good nature as she pulled over.
“Hey there! You alright?” She called from the warmth and safety of her SUV.
She reluctantly got out of the truck, leaving the door open, cel phone already dialing and approached the other driver.
“Do you need me to call a tow truck?” She asked when she noticed a pair of yellow eyes in the bush behind the driver. The driver stood a strange look on his face his pants in a heap around his ankles.
That was all she needed to see. Rebecca stumbled back to the safety of her vehicle, slamming and locking the door. Jamming the gearstick into drive, she accelerated away already talking to the 911 dispatcher.
She checked the rearview mirror only to find those yellow eyes meeting hers from the back seat.
The sound of metal impacting wood was swallowed by the surrounding trees.
The figure dragged Rebecca’s limp form from the wreckage, and carried it through the woods to a waiting vehicle.
Her body fell with a wet thump into the back of the vehicle and the figure tucked a tarp over her.
The figure stood upright and examined his now human hands. With a spring in his step and laughter in his heart, he hopped into the vehicle. As he drove off into the night the moon illuminated the advertising on the door. Full Moon Towing written in classic 60’s horror movie script over the cartoon silhouette of a wolf howling at the moon.